Saturday, September 30, 2006

Meanwhile in Palestine

Roadblock Removed in Al-Jab’a, Demonstrators Attacked: The demonstrators marched from the village of Al-Jab'a, following Friday prayers, and assembled at the blockade. The Palestinians carried signs reading “I Dream of Freedom for My Children,” “Settlers Create Apartheid” and “You Steal Freedom,” while others carried Palestinian flags. When the demonstrators reached the roadblock, they began removing it with shovels, hoes, picks and their hands.

Army invades village of Bil'in, disrupting peaceful anti-Wall march: According to Abdullah Abu Rahme, local coordinator for the Popular Committee Against the Wall in Bil'in, 200 locals were joined by about 30 internationals and Israelis at the protest this afternoon. Abu Rahme said that Israeli troops blocked the entrance to the village, and stationed themselves among the villagers' olive groves. The soldiers closed the gate through the Wall that farmers use to access their land located beyond the Wall.

Home destroyed by two Israeli missiles, 'five minute warning' given by cell phone: Over 27,000 Palestinians have become homeless by Israeli home demolitions, either by missile or by bulldozer, since the current open conflict began six years ago on September 29th, 2006. The Israeli military spokesperson confirmed that a phone call had been made to the family before the house was hit with precision laser-guided missiles.

Building Nowhereland: Out on Highway 60, the bulldozers are at work. Next to the road that leads south from Jerusalem to Israeli settlements in the West Bank, the big yellow machines are scraping the earth, carving a flat, white, dusty shoulder. Along that strip, a high concrete wall is already being built, part of the newest segment of Israel's "separation fence." The planned route loops around the cluster of settlements known as the Etzion Bloc, putting them on the Israeli side of the de facto border.

Report: Diskin holds secret talks with Arab intelligence heads: The newspaper reports that the participants in the secret meeting included Diskin (Shin Bet security service chief), Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, a senior Jordanian official, head of Jordan's General Intelligence Department Mohammed al-Dahabi, Head of Egyptian intelligence General Omar Suleiman as well as senior officials from two Persian Gulf states that do not maintain diplomatic ties with Israel.

Egypt, Jordan want Hamas gov't toppled: The attendants urged Abbas to reject a Hamas demand that it holds the premiership post in any future unity government with rivals Fatah, with Jordan and Egypt delegates arguing that the current Hamas government should be toppled.

Settlers attack, wound a Palestinian resident in Hebron: Resident Hana' Abu Haikal, said that she saw at least twenty settlers attacking several Palestinian homes and throwing stones at them. One resident, identified as Hisham Al Azza, 45, was injured in his face after being hit with a stone hurled by the settlers at his house.

Israeli Arabs mark six years since October riots: Israeli Arabs on Saturday commemorated the six-year anniversary of the riots of October 2000, in which police killed 13 Arab citizens rallying in support of the Palestinian Intifada. MK Jamal Zahalka (Balad) said Saturday, "Six years later, we're still demanding truth and justice, a full disclosure of the facts and punishment of those responsible for killing our sons."

Al Aqsa Brigades declares state of alert in the Gaza Strip: In a statement to the media, a spokesman for the Al Aqsa Brigades, the armed resistance wing of the Fateh party, has announced the faction's declaration of a state of alert and full mobilization in the Gaza Strip. The spokesman says the declaration comes in response to numerous threats by the Israeli military to invade the Gaza Strip again if captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is not released.

Israeli visa rules hit Palestinian diaspora: Palestinians fear that the West Bank, like Gaza, will be cut off from foreign tourism and trade. Those affected by the visa crackdown include prominent business persons, educators, government consultants, development workers and the Palestinian diaspora. Israel and the US are leading an international economic and diplomatic boycott of the Palestinian Authority.

U.S. Consul General in Jerusalem expresses concern about Israeli refusals to issue visas: Representatives of the Campaign for the Right of Entry/Re-Entry met on Friday with Consular Walles and several other chief staff at the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem and Embassy in Tel Aviv to discuss this increasing act.

Ohio professor wants Israel to apology for his detention: An Ohio professor who spent 22 days in an Israeli jail on suspicion of spying for Iran and Hezbollah asked colleagues Friday to help him get an apology from Israel. "Trustworthy people do get detained for doing nothing wrong other than speaking out and taking a stand," he said Friday in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

U.S. Congress okays $500m for defense projects with Israel: The funds will be allocated between many different projects, including the development of a short-range missile interception system, navigation systems for missiles and combat aircraft, and aerial drones. The money is not part of the regular military aid to Israel, which currently stands at over $2 billion.

India to build heart centre in Gaza: India will build a cardiac surgery centre in the strife-torn northern Gaza Strip as part of the USD 15 million humanitarian aid promised to Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas during his visit to New Delhi last year in May, a Palestinian official said.

Independent Lawmaker warns of large-scale Israeli operation in Gaza: The Israeli state television reported on Friday that the army put a plan to go back to Gaza Strip in a few coming days. Facing the Israeli plan, al-Barghouti called on the Palestinian factions to form a government of national unity to "thwart the bids that aim at tearing the Palestinians." (To make them look better after being humiliated in Gaza?????)

If not now, when will justice ever be served? ... tomorrow may be too late!: The long-suffering Palestinians have paid a terrible price throughout this period and for decades earlier while the world community ignores their desperate plight and is complicit in causing it. World leaders are comfortable remaining shamelessly silent while innocent people are being slaughtered and brutalized with impunity by the IDF's overwhelming force.

Editors Notes: Abbas's new-old adviser: Amr was branded a traitor and his home was fired on, reportedly by members of the Arafat-loyalist Aksa Martyrs Brigades. Two years later, in a television interview, Amr criticized Arafat again, for failing to root out corruption in the Palestinian Authority. Soon after he returned home, gunmen fired on him through the window of his home, hitting him twice in the right leg, which he had to have partly amputated. Those responsible have never been apprehended.

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